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Old Feb 18, 2013, 02:57 AM
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United Kingdom, England, Exeter
Joined Feb 2012
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Rc boat advice for camera platform

I am looking to build a rc boat with a small camera mounted on the top and bottom that can rotate. What would you recommend the best shape of hull to get the best stability.
The camera will probably be a couple of go pros.
Dan
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 04:36 AM
Spreckels Lake, GGP, SF, CA
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Given the requirements of movement a camera platform would have, probably a varient of an Ship Docking Module (SDM) with dual Azipod drives. When properly controlled the dual azipod drive of an SDM will allow you to move in any direction. You might have to scale up a bit, but the ideas under the waterline should do the job. I've been looking at this design for a while as a camera platform, but for much heavier camera systems so I'm looking a a much larger unit than would be required for a GoPro.

Also, you'll need to actively stabilize the camera mount itself with active gimbals and sensors, probably adapting something from the flyboys and their hexacopter camera platforms. Also, if necessary, mount a small first person video (FPV) camera coaxially with the GoPro so you have an active aiming system for your images.

To counteract wave motion a bit and stabilize the entire camera platform, a fair bit of ballast weight set on the bottom at a long piece of pipe descending from the bottom of the hull would probably be helpful as well.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1416005
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=551258
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1686585
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1710828
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1763876
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 04:39 AM
NeverAgainVolunteerYourse lf
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Sailboat hull with keel
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 04:57 AM
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Sailboat hull with keel
Or a wide catamaran with weighted fins.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 10:39 AM
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Also building a Pan and tilt platform mount for your cameras would also be handy.
These could also be gyro stabilized if you want to invest in some additional accessories.

PAN TILT - unit, hobbyking.com (0 min 33 sec)


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Old Feb 18, 2013, 02:03 PM
Grumpa Tom
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What type of filming? Commercial or just for fun?

Gyro stabilized, blah blah is a lot of money. If you are getting paid for your video it may be worth it.

If you just want video for personal use or club use, then a stable boat with a tilt/pan camera mount will give you all the motion you need. But in my experience, the tilt is not needed.

If you mount a camera solid, you will have to maneuver the model to film your subject. Depth perception becomes an issue.

With a camera mounted on a pan base, the model boat can be left to float stationary while you pan the camera to follow your subject. And of course you can also motor along while panning.

http://www.servocity.com/html/spt100...lt_system.html

http://www.servocity.com/html/ddp125_standard_pan.html
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 02:43 PM
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The filming is for filming wildlife. Filming sharks, seals and turtles.
I will be buildings a pan and tilt head. For the deck, and underwater.
Do most good waterproof serves work in the sea submerged, as sea water get everywhere.!
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 02:49 PM
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Or a wide catamaran with weighted fins.
Any particular brand. Recommend for a cat hull. Or some drawing I can get for free.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 05:09 PM
Spreckels Lake, GGP, SF, CA
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It needn't be pretty - if you go cat, maybe a either a SWATH or hydroairy type design using formed Styrofoam blocks with a coat of epoxy and glass and rigid plastic pipe structure would do. A simple platform for electronics packages and the camera mounts would probably be enough. You could probably also bury a fair amount of the electronics in the foam sponsons to keep the center of gravity as deep as possible.

As you probably guessed, I don't really think there's any Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) solution for this project as I suspect that you are looking at a more pro-grade end work product vis--vis the images / video. Might be a product here in and of itself in the camera platform.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 05:10 PM
Grumpa Tom
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This sounds like much more than a hobby grade project.

Waterproof servos are indeed waterproof. But the connectors will be attacked by salt water. You will need to be sure all your connector contacts are gold plated.

Also, the waterproof servos are designed for splash water, and puddles. Not sure what type of depth/pressure ratings they have but I would imagine it to be rather shallow.

Have you seen the Thunder Tiger SB-1 submarine? It is designed as a camera platform for the GoPro camers in particular.

http://www.tiger.com.tw/product/5220-F.html
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 05:50 PM
Spreckels Lake, GGP, SF, CA
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The model warship guys have had good luck with dipping their electronics in a waterproofing solution (can't remember name) and sealing their servos with silicone gels.

Mike's Subworks might have parts etc., that would fit the bill
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 06:52 PM
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My recommendation would be a basic towboat hull. Maximum load for size of the hull. Very stable and maneuverable with twin screws. In the picture of the cabin you see a single camera. If you you are using several GoPros I would have a cover for the hull opening and mount the pan tilt mounts to it.
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Old Feb 18, 2013, 09:21 PM
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I would use a med. sized barge, self ballasting with water. Then use a push boat like John recamended. That way you could more easy keep the r/c electronics dry. I have run my 16'' log tug in the open inner harbor, in San Francisco bay. I have run my 36'' Thompson Trawler in the main channel, in the LA side of the LA/LB harbor. Probably couldn't run in the LA harbor these days, as there are even restrictions on where you can run real boats. CaptCB
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Old Feb 19, 2013, 04:06 AM
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I have experience with planes, but boats are another thing!
Now I need to find some plans. Should I go for a glass hill or wood?
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Old Feb 19, 2013, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig_c View Post
The model warship guys have had good luck with dipping their electronics in a waterproofing solution (can't remember name) and sealing their servos with silicone gels.

Mike's Subworks might have parts etc., that would fit the bill
I think most of them sail in fresh water - model submarine technology might be more appropriate. Thanks for reminding me of SWATH, craig. It was what I had in mind but just couldn't think of the name. Agreed that the chances of anything being commercially available are slender.
Quote:
Now I need to find some plans. Should I go for a glass hill or wood?
I feel that the chance of plans is a bit slender, as well. You could be really starting from scratch, and need to think outside the regular box. Depending on the size you envisage, a good start might be your local B&Q, looking at drainpipes in the builders yard section.
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